Kenya has banned the importation of any mobile phone that does not offer a battery life of at least eight hours talk time or lacks the basic guidelines in its physical manual that is aimed at curbing fake gadgets.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), through the Kenya Gazette Notice stated that only licensed telecommunications vendors will be authorized to import and distribute mobile phones. And the batteries of these are expected to last a minimum of 24 hours when the device is not in use.
An authorised vendor is required to provide at least a one-year warranty for the device before sales and a sales support of two years after sales for each device sold. The devices, before being sold, will have the manufacturers brand or identification mark printed on them with indelible ink.
Each mobile phone should also have an international Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) printed on it, which can be retrieved electronically by dialing *#06#.
According to CA, samples of mobile phones must be sent to the authority for approval and testing before they are distributed. “Test reports submitted in the Type Approval process as evidence of conformance to the guidelines shall be from a test laboratory accredited under the International Laboratory Accreditation Co-operation (ILAC) the Gazette notice read.
Since 2012, Kenya has been battling counterfeits coming into the country through grey markets and illegal channels and this has cost consumers and the government millions annually. According to the government, “these laws are set to protect consumers from explosion and radiation caused by phones made with unstable materials such as mercury, arsenic, cobalt and others.”
In 2012, in an attempt to detect fake phones, the government switched off mobile phones whose IMEI number—the unique identifier for each phone—was not recognised by an international database and therefore deemed “fake.” This switch-off affected about 1.5 million Kenyans.
A report of by the Anti-Counterfeit Agency indicated that fake goods valued at Sh1.2 billion have been seized in the country in the last seven years.